There they are on the home page of Hystersisters.com: five attractive women, all dressed in white and smiling broadly. Why are these women so happy? They've had a hysterectomy--and obviously enjoyed it!
Yes, if you believe the claims on both Hystersisters and Hysterectomyresources.com, having your uterus removed--and likely your ovaries as well--can not only be anxiety-free but also a happy, happy experience.
If you do believe that, as we say in New York, there's a bridge in Brooklyn we'd like to sell you.
Selling, of course, is what both these websites are about. Selling you not on the idea that most hysterectomies--as many as 90%--can and should be avoided because they are so damaging to women's health. No, not that. Instead, both websites are trying to sell you on a different type of hysterectomy, and preferably, in the case of Hystersisters, one done with the daVinci robotic system.
The convenient Find-a-Doctor feature on that website is sponsored by...you guessed it, daVinci!
Intuitive Surgical, Inc., the company that makes the daVinci systems, is bullish on its future. The company's investor relations website reports that for the first half of 2010 revenue was up 49% from the first half of last year to $679 million.
This company's intensive public relations and advertising campaign--I've seen their press releases turned into glowing news stories by naive reporters in several newspapers--is all about getting hospitals to buy the robotic systems for a sweet $1 million to $2.3 million each.
And the revenue stream just goes on from there. Annual service agreement: between $100,000 and $180,000. Disposable instruments and accessories for each procedure: between $1,300 and $2,200.
Is it any wonder that medical costs in this country are impoverishing us?
The websites are a fabulously clever way of putting pressure on doctors and hospitals to buy the systems.
Women who've been told they need/should have a hysterectomy run to their computers for information.
And what they find at Hystersisters is designed to prompt them to ask their doctors--themselves getting pitched by Intuitive sales people--if they use the robotic systems. It's push-pull marketing at its best.
But pushing daVinci isn't the only thing wrong with these two websites, as I'll explain in my next blog in a few days.
In the meantime, any women who's considering a hysterectomy should go to the HERS Foundation website to get the cold, hard facts about the serious health problems and loss of sexuality that the surgery too often brings about.